On this week’s episode, I have the absolute pleasure of interviewing Charlotte Penner, contributor to the bestselling cookbook, Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Charlotte and I chat about the origins of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook group, and how this wonderful cookbook, which includes both traditional Mennonite and modern non-Mennonite recipes (all of them equally delicious!), has had an incredible impact on a community in need in Ukraine.
Listen in on our conversation!
You can find Mennonite Girls Can Cook and Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Celebrations at major booksellers in Winnipeg, as well as online. Pick up your copies today! They also make excellent gifts. A new devotional book, Bread for the Journey, is expected to be released this year as well. Thank you to Charlotte for sitting down to chat with me about what’s next for the MGCC crew.
Thanks so much for listening to this week’s episode of the Literally, Katrina podcast! I’ll be back in two weeks with another episode. To stay up-to-date on all things Literally, Katrina and books, subscribe to the Literally, Katrina podcast on iTunes or the Apple podcast app, like the Literally, KatrinaFacebook pageand Pinterest board, and follow me on Twitter and Insta @LitKatrina.
Big news in the literary world this week: Harper Lee, Pulitzer-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, is releasing a new book for the first time in more than 50 years! This is timely news because I’m totally re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird right now. Lee’s new book, Go Set a Watchman, is a sequel to the famous To Kill a Mockingbird, set in the same fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama and based on a grown-up Scout Finch, even though it was written before To Kill a Mockingbird.
In a USA Today article released yesterday, Lee is quoted as “explaining that she abandoned the Watchman manuscript decades ago, after her editor suggested she write a new book from the young heroine Scout’s perspective and to set it during her childhood. That became Mockingbird.”
While there has been a massive amount of suspicion about the timing of Watchman’s release (read up on the controversy here), I am personally really looking forward to reading this book when it comes out – and it looks like I’m not the only one. It’s already the #1 book on Amazon.com’s bestseller list and it isn’t set to come out until July 14, 2015. Pretty exciting stuff!
To Kill a Mockingbird is such a popular book that it inspired the title for Tim Federle’s Goodreads Award-winning cookbook Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist, the book I’m going to head out to buy tonight – the perfect way to spend a Friday night is mixing literary cocktails! Love the punny play on words right there.
I’m currently between books – I just finished All the President’s Men and am in the process of deciding what to read next. Therefore, I bring you a post about one of my very favourite things: perogies!
On Saturday, my bestie/cooking buddy Kaeri and I decided to get crafty in the kitchen. We have been trying out recipes and making messes in the kitchen together for the better part of ten years and figured it was time to do a little cooking together. We were both craving homemade perogies last week so we grabbed a copy of Mennonite Girls Can Cook and settled on a recipe for the classic cottage cheese variety.
Mennonite Girls Can Cook is written by ten women of similar faith and backgrounds – one of whom attends my home church and is a close friend of Kaeri’s family. What began as a recipe-sharing blog has turned into two cookbooks and a lot of fun!
Perogy-making is an art. Kaeri and I both come from German/Ukrainian/Russian/Mennonite backgrounds and grew up watching moms, aunties (known in German as “Tantes”), and Omas make little dough pockets of perfection. My aunt’s nickname is literally “The Perogy” – it’s in the blood, I tell you! We started making our own a couple years ago because they are the perfect thing to make for a potluck – everyone loves a good perogy!
I grew up with the potato/potato-cheese variety but discovered cottage cheese perogies a couple of years ago. I wasn’t a fan at first but have since grown to love the little guys. In terms of ease, cottage cheese perogies take a lot less time to make because the filling is less labour-intensive (no boiling/mashing/mixing – all you have to do is add egg, salt, and pepper to dried cottage cheese), so that was a bonus! We were very pleased with the dough in the Mennonite Girls Can Cook recipe but recommend adding less salt than called for in the filling. Because cottage cheese is salty to begin with, we recommend cutting the salt measure (1 tsp) in half. We doubled the recipe and found that 1 tsp was more than enough – 2 tsp would have been overwhelming. We even had a little extra dough at the end and made three blueberry perogies – my first time making fruit perogies! They were a big hit – my dad has put in an order for more ASAP.
I highly suggest making ‘gravy’ to accompany your perogies (known as ‘white gravy’ or schmaunfatt – which is Low German and fun to say). Don’t forget to fry up some farmer sausage, bacon, and onions for a true Menno meal. For more recipes and the story behind the Mennonite girls who produced this cookbook, check out the Mennonite Girls Can Cook website. Make sure to take a peak at the projects these women have raised money for with proceeds from cookbook sales – it’s inspiring!
Mennonite Girls Can Cook
Perogies go by many names: wareneki, pierogi, varenyky, pedehey, pyrohy. My favourite: heaven on a plate.
It’s difficult to find dry cottage cheese – it isn’t available in most grocery stores. We purchased regular (full fat) cottage cheese and drained it. We used a strainer but I would recommend a cheesecloth and many hours. The drier, the better!
Kneed dough until nice and smooth.
Cover and refrigerate dough for an hour. In the meantime, make your filling!
Best practice: pinch dough to dough. The dough will not stick together if it comes into contact with filling.
So many perogies!
The most Mennonite of meals. We also had farmer sausage. It was delicious.